Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Gaming Vacation

Okay I'll admit it, this past week I have been nerding it up.

After a long but exciting summer of editing, writing and being with my two lovely but hyperactive children, I was feeling a bit burnt out around my birthday. So to keep my sanity intact, I invested in a MMORPG as a present to myself. For those not in the know that is Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. Yes I spent a good chunk of years addicted to World of Warcrack, but since I resent monthly subscriptions, I purchased the one shot deal of Guild Wars 2 and dived into an intense play session. This was pretty much my version of a vacation, granted I will still play now that the week is over but I will split my time with other adult activities like my jobs, writing, home care etc.
Amazing game play, it's as epic as it looks ><

I came down from my gaming haze yesterday in order to finish my commitment to WeSeWriMo and conclude part 1 of New Earth 6 and send Malcolm off for his first day of Kindergarten *squee*. After this bloody long weekend of work (who the hell starts school on a Friday into a three day weekend!) the days will start to take on a rhythm since I will once again have just one munchkin over two. I will be able to devote more hours to editing and to finishing up some novels in progress as well as getting New Earth 6 out as an e-book and continuing the weekly saga. This morning I woke up to a glowing review on Web Fiction Guide, where I have listed my serial for a few months. It made my freaking week and had me blushing for a good hour. It also reinforced my determination to do an editing over haul for typos before putting up the e-book this week.

Big plans, big plans! September is going to kick off another busy month, but at least I have a new game to mess around with on those days I need a breather. Cheers!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Holy Shit I'm 28: Birthday Retrospect

"I wanted to buy a candle holder, but the store didn't have one. So I got a cake."

Mitch Hedberg

I'm not a birthday person, haven't been since I lost a parent a month before I turned 8. Something about death sucks all the fun out of the party. Twenty years later, I still associate birthdays with an odd bitter resentment. It wasn't until the last few years my outlook has started to change to something not so angst ridden. I think I now view birthdays with the same thought process I view New Year's. Birthdays have become synonymous with new beginnings, a time to reflect on the road thus far. 

This year has been a doozy, it was around my last birthday I was trying to pluck up the courage to run my life off its current tracks. I was working in a job I enjoyed but had no real advancement opportunity. I still might have stayed, I was in a bookstore, in my element, but there was the constant whisper. I wasn't satisfied with what I was doing, and I had trouble finding the energy to write after a long day of slinging books and caring for kids. I needed a change. By the end of summer I sat down with my boss and told him I was leaving, probably the scariest decision of the past several years. I had a few ideas of how to help support the family but there were two big driving forces behind the decision. One, I wanted to spend more time home with my children, and two, I wanted to seriously pursue writing. 

By November, I left my job of three years, started my oldest son in an intensive preschool program, aaaaaaand sputtered about. I'm not going to lie, the first couple months without work, I was in a bad way. I did not write ferociously, I tried and failed to get back into grad school (long painful story there), I became horrendously depressed and addicted to video games. I attempted substitute teaching and discovered I hated it, being thrust into a situation where the kids don't know or respect you, don't care about what you have to say, and treat you like crap is a special kind of misery. I respect anyone who sticks it out long enough to become a full blown teacher, because that is one hell of a gauntlet to go through. I managed to pick up a small shift at a local bookstore, one day a week, but it was extra income, got me out of the house, and kept me immersed in what I loved. 

By February, my husband began not so subtly prodding me to get another job, something, anything. This was not my proudest time. I was becoming a full blown recluse, I made a few halfhearted attempts to find work, trying to find something I could stomach. And I began working on the writing again, slowly dragging myself back into the process, amazed how awesome it felt to do so. It was during this month of slowly dragging myself back to the realm of the living, an idea took root in my mind, something I never tried before, something I wanted to do, to force writing into the spotlight. It didn't happen overnight, I chewed over the idea for a month and change before I sat down and penned my first chapter of New Earth Six. 

The end of March/ beginning of April is where this year really began to turn around. Once New Earth Six was up and running, I made it a point to write every day. No matter how unmotivated I found myself, I tried to do something. Don't get me wrong, some days I still did nothing, but the writing came easier, ideas began flowing again, and I felt motivated to do things again, even reading a friend's novel to give feedback. If you didn't know already, that decision lead to one of the best changes of my current adult life and definitely the high point of my year, when the act of helping a friend blossomed into a new job, once which makes me feel fantastic, it feels right. The summer also found me attempting some big commitments, writing wise, with the Clarion Write A Thon and WeSerWriMo. The results of both have been surprising and unexpected. The end of this month will also see another first for me, a big one, one I have been working years towards. I will definitely be releasing one title, the (short maybe?) E-book of New Earth 6 Part 1 and possibly (cross your fingers) another title I have been working on this summer. 

When I was young I used to day dream of becoming an author. I used to fantasize how I would be one of the rare people who published before they left high school. Looking back, I laugh and laugh and laugh at that dream. Writing is hard work, it is also a continuously changing and growing creature. My writing now is nothing like it was in high school (thank the gods) but for the first time since I had those dreams, I'm so close to seeing them realized, though with a humble perspective of the writing business and with a bit more wisdom than my teenage self possessed. 

In tribute to my gaming addiction ;)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

New Earth Six Cover Reveal!

After hosting a poll on the NE6 blog, ala Polldaddy.com, between three cover art runner ups the final product is the muted but colorful cover #2!

This shall be the face of Part One's e-book! I should probably come up with a better name than Part One but I'm lazy.(yeah totally >.>)
Thank you to all who participated, the people have spoken, and other such sentiments. Seriously though soooo happy people took the time to vote .

I shall be promoting like crazy in the next few weeks with the release of this FREE E-book and hopefully the release of another covert secret project (TBA)

ON WITH THE SHOW!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Science Fiction, Double Feature, Picture Show

Sometimes aspects of real life feel surreal. This past week has featured a couple moments of "did that just happen?"

 

Nose Candy:

Thursday morning began as a typical day. After a night of restless tossing and turning, I woke with the kids shortly after the sun crept over the horizon. By the time the husband came home from work, I'd already manned the fort for a couple hours, and begged him for a reprieve before he retreated to the room for the day. This is our dance. My sleeping habits have grown progressively off kilter as of late, leaving me to negotiate for naps with Captain Third Shift, but I digress. I passed out only to wake up to the unholy caterwauling of our eldest, Malcolm, accompanied by the husband roaring my name. Stumbling out, brain about forty paces behind the rest of me, I find them struggling in the living room, Malcolm screeching like a banshee, limbs flailing, while his doting father attempts to peer up his nose. Uh oh. This can't be good. What has happened? Malcolm, in a moment of sheer brilliance has inserted a small piece of candy up his left nostril. Candy we have vacuumed our treacherous carpet for several times, but the bastards keep squatting in those wily fibers. It took our son five years to shove something up his nose, but he chose a winner. The candy was so small we could not see it, or feel it, to extract it. A call to the pediatrician revealed they didn't want to deal with it either, which left....the ER. Balls.

There is nothing worse than sitting in the ER with my son. Between his cat like attention span, utter lack of patience and the zero entertainment options of the facility, my morning was hosed. How much did I dread this visit? Enough to reconsider when he calmed down on the way out to the car. "It's candy," I grumble to myself, "It'll dissolve." But no, the doctor has warned we don't want that going through his nasal passage. Off to the ER we go. After a quick stay in the waiting room, (yay) we are lead to a sparse sterile exam room. After coaxing Malcolm through the usual vitals check in, we are left to our own devices, for an hour. There is nothing to distract my darling boy in this room. We sing, we play a few clapping games, I make animal sounds for him to identify (I can't imagine what the nurses are thinking walking by this closed room). This eats up thirty minutes.

With an inward wince I hand over my cell phone, letting him play with some inane app, watching the battery life slowly drain away. I let my mind wander, keeping his hands off the various expensive machines clustered in the corners. A doctor finally enters.

Malcolm's calm is a lie. Within moments, we have banshee revisited, in stereo since noise bounces like a sound stage in here. Despite an RN and myself pinning him down, the doctor cannot locate the sugary culprit. Their recommendation? They ask me to plug his nostril and blow in his mouth, hoping to pop it out.

What? I feel like I'm being punk'd. With deep reservations I proceed to perform this technique, (did they learn this from Looney Toons?). Malcolm rewards my efforts with a slobbery reverb, blowing back, as I realize I didn't brush his teeth before taking off for the ER this morning. The bloody doctors are chuckling at me, asking if I want to try again. Yeah, thrilled to. Because I'm a masochist I close in to try again, rewarded by a writhing fit of giggles from my son. Zero point zero results.

"Well, can't see anything, it will have to come out on its own. Just watch for drainage."
I want to throttle the lot of them. I want to throttle the pediatrician for sending us on this fruitless time sink. I want to throttle them all over again as they leave me waiting for another hour before realizing they haven't discharged us....

I don't know if the pain or the four hour ER visit has engrained the lesson into Malcolm's head. The end result of our migraine inducing visit was a day fully frazzled and exhausted, another vacuuming session of our carpet "tan treachery", and some lovely colored snot a day later. (Blue, if you're wondering.)

Bad Religion:

My husband and his mother are fighting again. It has been a slow build, the kind where you can tell he grinds his teeth every time she opens her mouth. I have stood, poised between them, my feet on shaky ground for years now. Without the kids and my attempts to bolster some kind of relationship between the family, I wonder if he would have dealt with her at all. While both of them have individuals issues, my husband and I can usually talk through and solve the problems between us. The mother- in -law uses religion.

Disclaimer: Religion in general is one of those hot button topics. I have many opinions on the subject, but I am open minded when it comes to religion as a whole. Religion, itself, is not bad, it comes down to the individual. To me, religion is a guideline, a moral code to live by. I respect religion, I respect faith and beliefs, I will not tell you your faith is wrong, or sneer at your belief structure, and I expect the same courtesy in return. My relationship with "faith" as a concept is complicated and could fill a whole post on its own. I am gratified to have many excellent examples of religious people in my life, people who I respect for their faith and beliefs. Sadly my mother in law in not one of them.

Why? Here is spark which lit the five alarm fire:
She has refused to help watch the boys while my husband participates in his gaming activities because the gods in his game represent false idols and are trying to lead him astray, down the path to hell.

My husband tried, he listened to her view point. He tried to explain it was a fantasy game (legend of the five rings) and he does not believe these gods exist. He even took the approach of people worshipping various faiths around the world. Her response was unflattering to anyone not of the born again Christian faith. He argued it was fantasy, made up, not real, but she refused to budge from her stance. When he countered she reads fantasy, she responded with "only Christian authors."

We are big gamers in this household. We both play D&D with our circle of friends, various RPGS and video games. Now our relatively innocent lifestyle is being snubbed by a case of bad religion. I have trouble taking her serious. I am also pretty freaking insulted. Yes, my husband is going to be out of town for his nerd convention, but I asked her to watch our children so I could go to work, not flaunt my pagan ways with a rousing session of dungeon crawling, worshipping the God of Thieves. This development in her faith is unsettling and is a recent mutation. What's more disturbing than her off the wall judgment is she doesn't believe us when we tell her we don't believe in these fantastical false idols.

I find myself between a rock and a hard place. Is there a manual to deal with this? I do not want to shut my mother in law out of the lives of her grandchildren but do I want to expose them to this kind of behavior? The fact this whole zany issue has driven a wedge into our family is uncomfortable, as if my skin is too tight to breathe in. I still have trouble believing this argument was real, that someone actually thinks this way. I guess I shall go back to writing my speculative fiction and further cement my place in hell.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

So Much Time So Little to Do....Wait

Universal truth: There is never enough time.
I have been struggling with this feeling for the past two weeks. Every time I attempt to work on a task, be it housework, taking care of the kids, writing, working, this consuming feeling of needing to do everything at once is sucking me down.
I'm not sure if it's a matter of simple time management. I set aside so many hours in the day to work on a certain task, trying to find a balance for everything, but it seems like one or more facets of my life gets neglected, chores pile up, my writing becomes harder to focus on, my social life goes right out the window. It's this that or the other thing. There are never enough hours in the day to accomplish all the tasks I wish to. I know I'm not alone in this feeling, it plagues most grown adults.
I think I'm still trying to get my sea legs. This feels like a new phase in life, coming at warp speed, I'm losing sleep trying to keep my feet under me. August is going to be a difficult month but the rewards I seek to attain will be worth the struggle. I am finding a rhythm with line editing, it can still be time consuming, taking apart someone's work to create something better, stronger, new, but I think this is the most gratifying job I've ever had.
With my own work, the end of August will hopefully see the completion of the two novels I've been scribbling away at, and finishing the revisions of the YA Novel. August will also conclude the first part of the serial blog, and my participation in Web Serial Writing Month.
I will be juggling work with kids, Malcolm will be home for the month of August so I'll need to arrange time out and about for the stir crazy boys. Tim will be traveling to gen con for the better part of a week mid month, leaving us by our lonesome, and me juggling the jobs, the kids, and the homestead alone. The end of August also marks my birthday, another year older, and perhaps wiser. Here's hoping I survive to see it!
From: http://www.designformankind.com/2012/12/an-optimistic-planter/

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